She is the darling of the skies with her sleek silver body and heart-stopping speed – and next month she will grace Illawarra airspace for all to see.
Jeff Trappett’s newly restored Sabre fighter jet is one of only two operating in Australia, so she is bound to make a splash when the former RAAF pilot takes her for a spin at the Wings Over Illawarra air show in May.
Media were treated to a chest-rumbling fly-by on Tuesday as the Vietnam War-era fighter jet arrived at the Illawarra Regional Airport ahead of the event.
‘‘It’s beautiful to fly, you just sit there and you hardly touch it, it’s very effortless,’’ explained Mr Trappett, a former RAAF and Qantas international pilot.
‘‘This is the classic fighter – with the canopy and the set-up it has got magnificent 360-degree vision, the visibility is superb.
‘‘So when you’re flying you’re sitting up there and you can see the world – it is fantastic.’’
The 67-year-old, who discovered his love of flying after joining the Royal Australian Air Force at 19, has spent the last six years restoring the Sabre.
Before then it had sat as bits and pieces in storage for two decades.
‘‘It was only half an aeroplane so I gathered all the rest up – it has taken me years to find all the bits,’’ he said. ‘‘It was onerous – a huge job – I spent thousands of hours [on it].
‘‘I lived in the hangar so it was a 24/7 [job], really.’’
The Sabre is an exciting addition to the Wings Over Illawarra line-up, which boasts more than 20 different modern and vintage aircraft.
For the first time patrons will also see many of the ‘‘war birds’’ doing aerobatic manoeuvres on their fly-bys.
Gates will open at the Illawarra Regional Airport at 9am on Sunday, May 4, with flying displays at 10.30am. Tickets and information www.wingsoverillawarra.com.au